Trial begins in Raseborg level crossing deaths incident

The Finnish Defence Forces have been strongly criticised for the way they handled the incident, in particular with communication to relatives.

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File photo of judge holding documents / Credit: iStock

The trial begins today of the soldier who was driving a military vehicle involved in a deadly level crossing accident.

Three conscripts died and five others were injured in the October 2017 incident at Skogby near Raseborg when the vehicle was hit by an oncoming train.

A previous decision not to proceed with a prosecution against the driver was overturned, with the Deputy Prosecutor General considering the driver should have been able to act more cautiously.

Today at Western Uusimaa District Court in Tammisaari the driver goes on trial facing charges of negligence, endangering road safety and service offenses.

Military criticised for lack of communication

Families of the conscripts say they were not contacted swiftly enough by Defence Forces, and found out about the deaths and injuries of their loved ones only via social media.

According to the official accident investigation report carried out by Otkes, it was revealed that some parents tried to call the a Brigade spokesperson who said they were not authorised to give out information.

It took six hours for the Brigade Commander to call parents of the deceased conscripts, and two days for them to receive an official visit.

Other information to relatives about crisis help or claiming compensation was only sent in Finnish, even though the conscripts’ mother tongue was Swedish.

The Otkes report also highlighted how the Brigade failed to set up a dedicated information phone line for worried relatives to call and seek more information.